Top 10 Body Parts We Don't Really Need

Script written by Matthew Manouli.

There are actually unnecessary body parts we can live without. Whether it’s the tonsils, armpit hair or the pinky toe, or weird muscles like the subclavius or palmaris longus muscle, there are some vestigial organs and parts that the human body can live without. WatchMojo counts down ten body parts that serve little to no purpose.

Special thanks to our users backup368, Brodie Stirling, christian earl sabij, ninou78 and Andrew Corley for suggesting this idea! Check out the voting page at WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top%20Ten%20Useless%20Body%20Parts


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Script written by Matthew Manouli.

Top 10 Useless Body Parts We Don't Really Need

What’s this for again? Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Useless Body Parts.

For this list, we’re looking at body parts that served a purpose at some point in the human evolutionary process, but have little to no use for modern humans.

#10: Tonsils

As part of the lymphatic system, tonsils do serve a purpose... well, kinda. They’re part of your body’s first line of defense against foreign airborne pathogens. The problem is that tonsils can easily get infected, leading to tonsillitis, and might require surgery to remove. But when you lose them, it’s not like you’re vulnerable. Ironically, tonsils seem to invite more infections than they prevent, which is why infection-prone kids sometimes say toodles to tonsils if chronic tonsillitis becomes a problem. Although doctors are less gung-ho to remove tonsils these days, it’s not because they’ve proven that useful. It’s that removing them hasn’t always been shown to be beneficial enough to warrant the risks of surgery.

#9: Subclavius Muscle

Unless you’re still walking on all fours like our ancestors or simian cousins, chances are you won’t be needing this particular body part. The subclavius muscle is situated under each of the clavicle, or collar, bones, and it’s used to press the shoulder down and forward. That means it’s pretty much useless today, as we rarely need to perform such movements anymore, though it was helpful back in our quadrupedal days, helping to stabilize the collarbones while walking. It’s so unnecessary that natural evolution has apparently started to phase it out; according to Discover magazine, some people no longer have the muscle, while some have two and others only have one.

#8: Underarm Hair

Armpit or axillary hair, along with all body hair, is another reminder of our primate past. Why is this hair more prominent than the hair on the rest of our bodies? While we can’t say for sure... our apocrine sweat glands provide the most viable explanation. It’s thought that these sweat glands produce pheromones that are then caught in the hair to produce a smell to attract mates. While that’s great for when DK hits on Candy Kong, there’s no conclusive evidence that pheromones have any sexual effect on humans, making armpit hair more or less unnecessary. Another theory is the hair helps ventilation. But these days, many women shave theirs, while some men trim or shave it for aesthetic reasons.

#7: Palmaris Longus Muscle

Located close to your wrists, this outdated muscle was used by our ancient ancestors for climbing. Nowadays, monkeys that climb the most have larger proportioned palmaris muscles than their ground-based cousins. Interestingly enough, around 14% of us don’t even have the muscle. Are you among the few? Give it a try! Extend your arm out palm facing up, press the tips of your fingers together and slightly flex and tilt back your wrist. See that bump that sticks out? If the answer is no… you haven’t got one. But don’t worry; it has no effect on grip strength. The muscle is so useless; it’s commonly used as a graft to fix ruptured tendons. So... its uselessness actually makes it useful in a roundabout way... How’s that for irony?

#6: Foreskin

Admittedly, this one has been the subject of debate time and time again. The foreskin once served a historical purpose, but nowadays a body can go either way. It’s a natural part of the penis, so it contains a ton of nerve receptors that make the act of reproduction feel great. Without it, the penis can become less sensitive, but that’s arguably as far as its modern purpose goes. There are arguments for keeping it intact, like protecting infants from infection, but nothing concrete. While it might not be useful, there’s no strong medical motivation for its elimination. These days, foreskins are removed for religious or aesthetic reasons, but some adults are now undergoing steps to reverse circumcision.

#5: Fifth or Pinky Toe

We’ve all wondered at some point or other what the heck our pinky toe is there for. It doesn’t stabilize us while walking, and it doesn’t look that great either sitting all shy in the corner. Our primate relatives still use their own longer fifth toes to climb, but modern humans don’t need that kind of movement. Interestingly enough, even though you can do without your pinky toe, the metatarsal bone that connects to it is necessary for you to walk and run. Hey, at least it’s still there if we ever need to pick something up and are too lazy to bend over and your other toes are too tired... or something.

#4: Auricular or Auriculares Muscles

The human ear is a veritable hotbed of useless evolutionary leftovers - for example, Darwin’s Tubercle. While “auricular” might sound like a totally rad name for a muscle group, it sadly doesn’t live up to the hype. Located in the outer part of ear, these muscles only allow us to wiggle our ears up and down, and back and forth. You’ll notice that some animals can rotate their ears towards the source of a sound. This muscle suggests that somewhere back along the evolutionary path, we had a similar ability, but not anymore. While these muscles aren’t as appealing as biceps or abs, they can still win a few hearts with their wiggling wizardry.

#3: Male Nipples

We all know nipples have a purpose on female bodies, but why do men have nipples too? Well, if you could remember as far back as being in utero, you’d recall that you developed the same way for the first 2 months, regardless of your eventual sex. And thus, nipples for everyone! If you got the Y chromosome however, you eventually started producing testosterone and the male parts that come with it. Since nipples got “in before the lock”, men are stuck with them. Admittedly, there have been cases of men lactating. But since we doubt they proceeded to feed their young with them, we’re sticking with our verdict of “useless”.

#2: Appendix

It seems the most common function of this organ is to cause excruciating pain and then explode and poison us. According to experts though, the appendix likely facilitated digestion for our ancestors, as their forage-heavy diets consisted of a lot of uncooked foods and cellulose from grass and plants. Our diets have since evolved to include a lot more cooked meals, and hopefully, little to no grass, effectively making this vestigial organ a waste of space. Some doctors claim the appendix houses good bacteria during illness, and can then repopulate the intestines with it when the coast is clear. But until conclusive evidence is presented, the appendix ranks high on the “useless scale”.

#1: Wisdom Teeth

Most useless body parts are either benign or only negatively affect a small number of people. Not so for these troublesome teeth; they’ve caused throbbing pain for many people. They’re remnants from our ancestors who likely had larger jaws because of their diet of raw plants and meat. These days, we eat softer foods, so our jaws didn’t need to grow as large. This often leaves wisdom teeth trapped and impacted, leading to complications. Some scientists also claim that since our ancestors didn’t have the same hygiene, there would have been space for the third molars when other teeth fell out. So, the silver lining? Wisdom teeth are useful in providing tons of hilarious post-removal videos!

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